RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Black Star Riders – Heavy Fire
Nuclear Blast

Rating: B

Black Star Riders get loads of respect for the way they conduct themselves.  Everyone who knows anything about this band understands that Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham had the opportunity to record under the moniker ‘Thin Lizzy’ but he chose not to do so out of respect to his fallen friend, and Lizzy mastermind, Phil Lynott.  Thus Black Star Riders was born.

BRS has now released their third studio album titled Heavy Fire .  Like the others, this music drips of Thin Lizzy.  The band does not copy Lizzy, but rather they have their notes in their musical DNA, especially Gorham.  Vocalist Ricky Warwick sounds a lot like Phil and he has no issue with the direction the band takes.  Now, this not a clone as they have their own vibe and energy.  This is best seen in songs like “Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed” and “Testify or Say Goodbye.”  These tunes show a band creating new songs that, albeit are in a Thin Lizzy style, stand on their own merits.  Other tunes like “Heavy Fire” and “True Blue Kid” show them paying total homage to their hero Lynott. 

This one, like the first two, is a strong album.  The band is solid as hell.  Robbie Crane is on bass and Damon Johnson plays the harmony licks alongside Gorham with ease.  Just like most Thin Lizzy albums, this release has some songs that are highly accessible for all rock fans, other tracks that one has to be a big BSR to digest comfortably, and a few tunes that are just not quite as good as the others.  In fairness, that is probably true of most albums by most bands.  That said, this album features solid songwriting, great vocals, a strong rhythm section and some killer six-string work throughout. 

With Heavy Fire Black Star Riders are getting comfortable with their musical vision and beginning to stretch out a bit, while still keeping the vibe of the band true to their purpose.  This could turn off a few hardcore Thin Lizzy fans who want to stay firmly planted in the past, but all in all, it is a good move for the members of BSR. 

Look for this band to continue to be the quiet hero of this genre.  We need more bands like them.  This album gives fans the opportunity to support real rock music made by the most genuine musicians around these days.   They may not be our last hope, but they are leading the charge when it comes to creating new ‘classic’ hard rock and keeping the genre alive and well. 

Heavy Fire
When the Night Comes On
Dancing With the Wrong Girl
Who Rides the Tiger
Cold War Love
Testify or Say Goodbye
Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed
True Blue Kid
Ticket to Rise
Letting Go of Me

Line Up:
Ricky Warwick, vocals
Scott Gorham, guitar
Damon Johnson, guitar
Robbie Crane, bass
Jimmy DeGrasso, drums

By Jeb “Dancing in the Moonlight” Wright